The late Don West discussed by Mike Tenay.
On December 30th, Mike Tenay relayed the news that his friend and former broadcast partner, Don West, passed away after a bout with brain lymphoma.
Don was 59 years of age when he passed and there were a multitude of tributes and kind words shared on social media about West from those within the wrestling business and viewers of it.
Tenay was invited onto Wrestling Observer Radio to discuss everything Don West. Tenay said it’s evident that Don was respected by those he worked with and even by those who he did not work with. He also commented on the tributes that AEW and WWE gave.
Well thank you (for letting me come on the show to talk about Don West). You know, Don West, and everybody goes to this card, the larger than life personality. Don was the definition of that. A definition of larger than life personality and he had a heart to match. I think as you guys can see by the social media reaction, universally loved by everybody who worked with him and I think equally respected by those who didn’t work with him. We’ve seen by TV tributes from both the WWE, which I have to say was a very pleasant surprise, and by AEW. In the wrestling business, I think it’s just by the nature of the business, you make a lot of great acquaintances but very few great friends and that’s exactly what he was and I think our mutual friend, Craig Jenkins, that worked with us in TNA and IMPACT, I think he says it best, he always says, ‘We loved him like a brother.’
Later in the conversation, Tenay spoke candidly about the last few months of Don’s life. He started off by speaking about his time with the late Bobby Heenan and the communication issues that arose via health reasons.
Tenay stated that Don was not able to speak very well the last few months of his life and he could see the decline. Mike said he would just try to take whatever he could from the conversations.
I think the biggest thing was I knew so many of Bobby’s stories backwards, forward and sideways that I knew once he got started down the road on a story, I could definitely tell where it was going. He also didn’t like to be dealt with in a way where if he’s telling you something on the phone and you’re on the other end and you’re just playing along and you’re going, ‘Uh-huh, uh-huh,’ he would know because he would throw in a question and he would know that if you’re not answering his question, you’re just playing along and humoring him and it bothered him a lot. But by the same token, by the time you said to him for the third time, ‘Damn, I’m just not getting it. Can you give it to me one more time?’ It had gotten real frustrating. Don [West], again, the same thing happened for the past few months of his life or the last few months of his life I guess. He was not able to really speak very well and it was in a similar fashion that maybe six months out, you could just see the decline and you would talk to him on the phone and there would be words that you might confuse with other words and then the last couple of months, he was not able to speak at all. So, you just try and just try and take whatever of the conversation is what you do… It’s a tough thing to do but what’s the other option?
IMPACT Wrestling aired a tribute video for Don West and that can be checked out here.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Wrestling Observer Radio with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.